6 hikes to soak up the great outdoors in the Vosges

In the Vosges mountains, slopes are gentle and hiking is accessible to all. In this unique natural setting, each circuit takes in its own discreet territory, rich in history and savoir-faire. Here are six of our favourites.

For heritage: around Mont Sainte-Odile

The GR53, which has connected Wissembourg with Donon since 1950, remains a great hiking trail to this day. It’s recommended to choose a route encompassing Mont Sainte-Odile, an emblematic site of the central Vosges in Alsace. The village is surmounted by Hohenbourg Abbey, a convent overlooking the Alsatian plain and founded by Saint Odile, patroness of Alsace. On a clear day, the view extends to the Black Forest – and you can see the remains of a Celtic wall known as the ‘pagan’ wall.
Mont Sainte-Odile Tourism (External link)

For scenery: Le Tour des Lacs

The Lac Blanc, the Lac Noir and the Lac des Truites: three lakes making up a 12-kilometre hike, aimed at experienced walkers. The departure point is near the Col du Calvaire. The trails leave the forest to reveal the Vosges high-stubble at the heart of the Tanet-Gazon du Faing nature reserve. Stop for a picnic near the Lac des Truites, perhaps one of the most beautiful lakes in the Vosges. The route ends near the Lac Blanc, which takes its name from the colour of the crystalline sand lining its shores.
More information about the Lakes tour (External link)

For views: climb up the Grand Ballon

Peaking at 1,424 metres above sea level, the Grand Ballon is the highest point of the Vosges mountains: a must for hiking in the region. One of the most popular walks is to go around it. The departure is from the Hotel du Grand Ballon car park, then the route joins the GR5 to the Monument des Diables Bleus, which offers a splendid view of the surroundings. It’s barely three kilometres – and well worth it.
More information about the Grand Ballon tour (External link)

For food: La Route du Fromage

Did you know that Munster, the iconic cow’s-milk cheese from eastern France, was born here in the Vosges? The Route du Fromage trail takes in all the farms and farm-inns linked to the cheese business in the Munster Valley. Around 60 farms and cheese factories are listed and offer the hiker multiple options for itineraries on foot, by bike or even donkey – punctuated by tastings, of course!
The Route du Fromage (Cheese Route) (External link)

For history: Le Front des Vosges

Here we are south-east of the Vosges, about 20km from Mulhouse. Departing from the village of Wattwiller, known for its mineral water, this hike takes you in the footsteps of French soldiers during the First World War. The infamous Battle of Hartmannswillerkopf took place here, lasting a year between 1915 and 1916 and leaving over 15,000 dead.
Walks to Hartmannswillerkopf and Rehfelsen (External link)

For a challenge: Le Sentier des Roches

This iconic trail from the Schlucht Pass to the Frankenthal is one of the most famous in the Vosges mountains, but also one of the most popular, with almost 40,000 hikers tackling it each year. It was created by the Club Vosgien of Munster in 1909. As its name suggests, the Sentier des Roches (‘Rock Trail’) has hikers scrambling along rock faces: needless to say, it’s for the most experienced.
Sentier des Roches (External link)

Vosges Massif